Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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December 17, 2012
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December 17, 2012
Jesus Christ Is The Only Way To The Father, Apostles Had To Be Convinced That Jesus Is The Only Way, Freed From Bondage Of Mosaic Law Fear Death And Sin Through Christ, Instructed By The Lord, Firmly Established In The Faith, Contend For The Faith, The Apostles Boldly Preached Salvation By Grace Alone Through Faith In Christ, Justified By Jesus And Not By The Law Or Good Works, Righteousness Through Christ Alone, Jesus Is Our Only Mediator, We Have All Sinned And No One Is Righteous, We Are Dead In Sins But Cleansed By Jesus' Blood, We Have Passed From Death Unto Life, We Will Never Be Cast Out, Jesus Became Sin For Us, Jesus Is Our Righteousness, Love Fulfills The Law, The Royal Law And More Excellent Way, Why Some Christians Fear Death, I Hope That It Is Enough, It Is Enough Because Jesus Paid The Full Ransom Price For Us, We Are Jesus' Purchased Possessions Waiting To Be Redeemed, No Hybrid Religion Of Grace Mixed With Self-Righteous Works, If Righteous Comes By The Law Then Christ Is Dead In Vain, Salvation And Heavenly Rewards, No Free Ride After Coming To Christ, Keep Busy For The Lord, Closing Remarks, Reading List
As all Bible-believing Christians know today, the reason why it is indeed possible with God, the reason why we can indeed gain Forgiveness, Redemption, Salvation and Eternal Life, is because of Christ crucified. However, two thousand years ago, the Jews -- including the Lord's own Apostles and Disciples -- did not know and understand this. As we have seen, they grew up in a religious environment where everything depended on strict adherence to the Mosaic Law and good works. That is why Jesus had to totally smash that belief system, and make it very clear -- particularly to His own Apostles -- that He alone is the only way to His Father and the Kingdom of God. Thus He said:
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
John 14:6, KJV
"Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."
John 10:7-9, KJV
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
John 12:32, KJV
The Lord's Apostles and Disciples had to be fully convinced in their own hearts that there was -- and is -- absolutely no other way to achieve Salvation, other than through Jesus Christ. Jesus had to free them first from the deception of the belief in self-righteous works, so that they could then be effective ambassadors and emissaries of the Kingdom of God to the rest of the sinful world. As long as they thought that there might be some other way, perhaps an easier way, they would not be able to preach with the conviction of the Spirit; and they most certainly would not be willing to lay down their lives for the Lord, as most of them eventually did.
Jesus had to teach them freedom from the bondage of the Law insofar as Salvation is concerned; freedom from the grip of death and sin, and freedom from the deep-rooted fear of not knowing whether or not one is truly saved; by placing their faith in Himself alone, and what He would do for them, and for us as well. Thus, in two of the Gospels the Lord says the following:
"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."
Luke 4:16-21, KJV
"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
John 8:31-36, KJV
After about three years of receiving solid instruction from the Lord -- and even more so after Jesus gave the final proof that He was, and is, who He says He is, through His very own Resurrection from the dead -- the message was imprinted on the hearts of His Apostles. If they had any doubts, surely such doubts evaporated when the Resurrected Christ appeared before their very own eyes. In the words of the Apostle Paul, they became firmly established in the faith. As a result, in the words of Jude, they were able to effectively contend for the faith as well. Consider these verses:
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving."
Colossians 2:6-7, KJV
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
Jude 1:3, KJV
Upon examining the Book of Acts and the Epistles, it is evident that the central message of Salvation by God's Grace through faith in the Sacrifice of Christ alone, as opposed to lifelong strict adherence to the Laws of Moses, as well as performing self-righteous "good works", sunk in with the Apostles. They got the Lord's message loud and clear, and this is exactly what they preached. Empowered by the Holy Spirit -- which they received in Acts chapter two -- they taught that no one can possibly keep the entire Mosaic Law. They taught that righteousness is not achieved through our own supposed "good works". They boldly preached that we are all hopeless sinners who are doomed to eternal death, unless we are washed in the Blood of the Lamb of God. They taught that it is only by God's Grace that we are saved, and not by the Law; that is, not through keeping the Laws of Moses. All of these sound Biblical truths are revealed in such verses as the following:
"And by him [Jesus] all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."
Acts 13:39, KJV
"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God . . . But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter."
Romans 7:4, 6, KJV
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;"
Romans 3:20-21, KJV
"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
Romans 10:4, KJV
"And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."
Romans 11:6, KJV
"I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."
Galatians 2:21, KJV
"But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith . . . Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:"
Galatians 3:11, 13, KJV
"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."
Galatians 5:4, KJV
"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."
James 2:10, KJV
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
Titus 3:5, KJV
"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins . . . But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Ephesians 2:1, 4-9, KJV
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"
1 Timothy 2:5, KJV
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Acts 4:12, KJV
"And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."
Acts 16:31, KJV
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one . . . For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
Romans 3:10, 23, KJV
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 6:23, KJV
"And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness."
Romans 8:10, KJV
"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;"
Colossians 2:13, KJV
"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."
1 Peter 2:24, KJV
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
1 John 1:7, KJV
"And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
1 John 2:2, KJV
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
1 John 4:10, KJV
In all of the previous verses -- and these are just a few -- we plainly see that Jesus Christ is central to our Salvation, and not so-called self-righteous "good works". As we learned in part one, the Apostle Paul informs us that Jesus alone is the Righteousness of God. Furthermore, through our faith in His Sacrifice for us, we likewise become righteous in God the Father's sight, because we are washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb. There is absolutely no other way in which we can ever hope to obtain Forgiveness and Salvation, regardless of what the legalistic religionists may try to tell you. Not only that, but as both Jesus and the Apostle John inform us, through our faith, we have passed from death unto life, as we see by the following verses. Furthermore, what God the Father gives us through Christ, He does not take back:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."
John 5:24, KJV
"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death."
1 John 3:14, KJV
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16, KJV
"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."
1 John 5:13, KJV
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
John 6:37, KJV
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand."
John 10:28-29, KJV
"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5, KJV
Now, if we have passed from death unto life as the Scriptures plainly declare unto us, and if Jesus informs us that He will never ever leave us or forsake us, then what do we possibly have to fear? We do not have to be afraid of death if we are trusting in Jesus alone for our Salvation, instead of in our own supposed "good works". We are in fact free from the wages of sin -- which is eternal death -- because He who knew no sin -- Jesus -- willingly became sin for us, in order that we might be made the Righteousness of God through our faith in His loving Sacrifice. Consider this verse:
"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
2 Corinthians 5:21, KJV
So once again we see that it is all about Jesus Christ, and that it has absolutely nothing to do with a perceived sense of righteousness or sinless perfection that some people seem to think they have. Unlike the Law-bound Jews, and a number of other legalists who even flourish today, instead of being under the bondage of trying to abide by literally hundreds of different mandates of the Mosaic Law, in the hope that we will somehow merit Eternal Life through our own "goodness" and obedience, all we have to do is place our faith and trust in the Sacrifice of Christ, because He is our righteousness. As far as the Mosaic Law is concerned, Jesus Himself informs us that it can be summed up in the following manner:
"Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Matthew 22:35-40, KJV
I have mentioned before that despite unfounded complaints from his critics -- both the ancient Jews as well as present day critics -- everything that the Apostle Paul taught was a precise mirror of the very same things which Jesus Himself had taught during the time of His public ministry. It should come as no surprise then that Paul would write the following in his Epistle to the Romans:
"Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."
Romans 13:10, KJV
Wow! I love that guy, and I hope to shake his hand someday in the Kingdom of Heaven! Clearly, everything centers around love; love for God, and love for our fellow man. After all, if our lives are truly ruled by God's Love, then we will not kill, or steal, or commit adultery, or do any of the other things which God frowns upon. As I explain in an article of the same name, the Apostle James refers to love as the Royal Law, and the Apostle Paul refers to love -- or charity -- as "a more excellent way". As the Apostle John informs us, this is simply because God is love. Consider the following verses:
"But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way."
1 Corinthians 12:31, KJV
"If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:"
James 2:8, KJV
"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."
1 John 4:8, KJV
So once again we see that it really comes down to love. I began this current article by stating that despite our rich Christian heritage, and the wonderful truths of God's Word which have been passed down to us, there are some Christians who not only fear death, but who also fear what will happen to them after they have passed out of their current life in the flesh. I asked why this would be. If you have carefully read this article, then perhaps you have already discerned the answer regarding why this is, at least with some people.
In looking at my own life, I believe that I have discovered the answer. Even though I have known the Lord for close to fifty years; even though I have seriously studied His Word for about forty of those years; and despite the fact that I understand God's plan of Salvation; nevertheless, I recall a few occasions where I have temporarily slipped into a frame of mind where I will think to myself "Lord, I hope that it is enough." In other words, I will sometimes sit here and reflect on some of my past sins and mistakes -- for all have sinned, remember -- and then I will likewise think of all of the years of my life which I have faithfully invested in the Lord's service. Then I will say "Lord, I hope that it is enough."
I don't know if I say that because I am actually questioning my Salvation, or if I am simply saying that I hope that I have done enough for the Lord so that He won't be ashamed of me or disappointed in me. If it is the former -- although I really don't think that it is -- then it is definitely wrong to say it, because it is enough. The reason why it is enough is because Jesus Christ already paid the full price for our Salvation, and there is nothing more that we need to or can add to it. As I explain in other articles, He paid the full Ransom Price -- or Purchase Price -- for our Salvation with His own Blood; and what is paid in full, is in fact paid in full. Consider the following verses:
"Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
Matthew 20:28, KJV
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."
Acts 20:28, KJV
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, KJV
"Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men."
1 Corinthians 7:23, KJV
"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
Ephesians 1:13-14, KJV
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."
1 Timothy 2:5-6, KJV
It becomes evident then that if we think that we need to do anything other than repent of our sins, place our faith in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and openly proclaim His Name to others, in order to obtain Salvation, then in reality, we are practicing a works-based religion, rather than a purely faith-based religion. At the very least, we are practicing a hybrid faith which endeavors to mix God's Grace with our own self-righteous works. As we learned through the previous set of verses, this is wrong. Either we believe that we are saved by God's Grace alone through Christ, or else we endeavor to save ourselves through our own perceived goodness and works of the flesh.
I suspect that this is precisely the problem with some of the Christians who fear death. Just like the Jews and some other legalists, they are still trying to save themselves. They are afraid that what they have done for God -- if anything -- is not good enough. That is why some of them are in bondage and fear death. Because they are still depending on themselves, they are not sure if they are really saved or not. They have apparently forgotten that we are saved by God's Grace alone. They may say with their mouths, "Oh, yes, I believe in Jesus, and I know that He died for my sins", but in their hearts they have been deceived into believing that they still need to add something to His Sacrifice, just to play it safe, and just to be sure of their Salvation. They want to pad their bets a little.
If you have fallen under the deception that you still need to help Jesus to save you, then please remember that Paul wrote "if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." In this case, "the law" can represent anything you do outside of placing your faith in Jesus Christ, in order to supposedly save yourself, or to try to keep yourself saved. It can include obeying certain legalistic aspects of the Law of Moses, or observing certain Jewish feast days, or tithing to your church, or donating to your favorite charities, or building hospitals and clinics, or doing so many other things which modern society finds laudable. These may indeed be good things which will win you the praises of men, but they do not save you, or keep you saved. Only faith in Jesus saves.
Before closing, allow me to make one final point. While in this article I have emphasized the preeminence of God's Grace over self-righteous works as it pertains to our Salvation, as I also explain in other articles such as "The Parable of the Sower: Salvation and Service", "Are You a Burning Ember for the Lord?", and "Sluggards and Sloths: Are You Diligent and Faithful in the Affairs of God's Kingdom?", this doesn't mean that once we are saved, we can simply sit on our fannies and do nothing for the Lord. If this is what you have been led to believe; if you think that it is a free ride after coming to Jesus Christ; then my friend, you are sorely mistaken.
While Salvation is indeed a free Gift of God which we receive through our faith in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Heavenly Rewards are quite another story altogether. Unless we remain active and busy serving the Lord following our Salvation, we will not be laying up treasures in Heaven, as Jesus clearly instructed us to do. As a result, we probably won't have much to look forward to once we pass through the Pearly Gates. Consider the following verses:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Matthew 6:19-21, KJV
"If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?"
Proverbs 24:12, KJV
"For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."
Matthew 16:27, KJV
"And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:"
1 Peter 1:17, KJV
". . . I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works."
Revelation 2:23b, KJV
"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."
Revelation 14:13, KJV
"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works."
Revelation 20:12-13, KJV
Please refer to the aforementioned articles for additional information regarding being faithful servants of the Lord.
In conclusion, and to reiterate, what Jesus did for us is in fact enough. The price for our Salvation has already been paid in full, and we are now "purchased possessions" who are simply waiting to be redeemed by the Lord. Therefore, we do not need to fear death, or what comes after death, because our slates have already been washed clean by the precious Blood of Jesus Christ. It is a done deal, and we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise. We are free from the bondage and penalty of sin, which is eternal death. Let us therefore walk in newness of life in this present life, as we patiently wait for the fulfillment of the promise in the Eternal Life that is yet to come.
With these thoughts I will bring this article to a close. I trust that you have enjoyed it, learned something from it, and I pray that it has been a blessing in your life. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, etc, I would really appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thank you so very much! May God bless you abundantly!
For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this article, or which contain topics which are related to this article. All of these articles are likewise located on this very same Bill's Bible Basics website:
A Treasure in Earthen Vessels: God's Promise of the Spirit
All Are Given a Chance, But . . .
Are You a Burning Ember for the Lord?
Death: Final Battle, Final Victory
Going Down the Highway of Life
Is the Message of Salvation Meant for All Men?
Marriage of the Lamb
Message to the World
Not Everyone is a Child of God
Salvation is Free Through Jesus Christ
Sluggards and Sloths: Are You Diligent and Faithful in the Affairs of God's Kingdom?
Striving for Perfection: Are You a Sinless Saint?
The Parable of the Sower: Salvation and Service
The Royal Law: Thou Shalt Love